Chuy Gomez's Top 5 Favorite Things About His 20 Years At KMEL
1) Being able to be at the People's Station when that meant something.
2) All the Chuy Klause Christmas and being able to help!
3) Being able to work with John London, Renel, and Rick Chase and all the other folks
that made up [the] original Family
4) Being able to put so many people on.
5) Summer Jams and meeting so many artists
Two weeks ago KMEL fired beloved longtime DJ/radio personality Chuy Gomez. After 20 long radio years' service on the popular Bay Area hip-hop and R&B radio station located at 106.1 on the FM dial the powers that be fired their most popular DJ with no explanation or apology. Yes as is typically the case in the cold world of the corporate radio business no forewarning was given to this loyal dedicated employee of two decades. Nor, upon being let go, was even a reason given to Chuy for his sudden, unexpected dismissal. Insiders say it was merely a calculated cost cutting move by the Bain Capital owned media empire where the bottom line is the almighty dollar - not music or people. Simply put Chuy's unceremonious dismissal was another case of business as usual in the halls of the Clear Channel radio station where pleasing shareholders and maintaining advertising revenue rules above all else. In the eyes of corporate radio execs on-air "personalities" are not viewed as persons but merely interchangeable cogs that can be replaced with increasingly cheaper labor. On the very day (August 16th) they let Gomez go the Clear Channel radio station deleted the Chuy in the Morning profile page from its website with the intent of erasing any association of him with the station.
Of course the large number of listeners of KMEL, which with its 69,000 watts of power broadcasts well beyond the immediate Bay Area, could not similarly erase the memory of Chuy Gomez (a radio companion that so many had grown up with) with the same callous ease as KMEL execs did with with a delete click and pink slip. Not surprisingly then two weeks ago upon learning the news of Chuy's totally unexpected dismissal and the far-from-classy way in which his employers let him go got out people in the Bay Area were livid. One fan started a petition to boycott the station until they reinstated the DJ. Radio listeners, associates, and the countless Bay Area artists whose music had been supported by Chuy over the years took to social media immediately to vent their collective shock and disapproval - all the while unfurling a litany of curse-laced disses towards KMEL. However throughout all of this the fired radio DJ himself, whose full legal name is Jesus Chuy Gomez, lived up to his first name and, in most Christian like manner, did not talk trash on KMEL but instead was a true class act with only positive things to say.
"I want to thank the Bay Area for listening to KMEL for 20-plus years. Love you guys," said Chuy in one video clip posted on his Instagram account while on Twitter he tweeted "Thank you for letting me be a part of your LIFE thru KMEL for 20 years... On to the NEXT!!" Since then without missing a beat he has done just that - focused on the next, the new (in fact his new email address is tagged "NEW") and he has been busy doing a million things from guest DJing on the radio to hosting KTSF TV's California Music Channel afternoon music video show. On Monday (Sept. 2nd) he will be one of the hosts at the big Hiero Day in Oakland. Yesterday I caught up with Chuy to ask him a few questions and, in keeping with his ever non-negative vibe, focused on the positives including asking him to list his Top 5 Favorite Things About His 20 Years On KMEL (above).
Amoeblog: It seems like you've been staying busy since KMEL ended recently - I see you are doing the Hiero Day on Monday. What other events or things do you have coming up?
Chuy Gomez: Helping host the Fiji show on Sunday in Redwood City, Hiero show on Monday, playing oldies at First Fridays in Oakland, then hosting Oakland Massive at the New Parish, and Hosting a lil bit at Rock The Bells [Sept 14 & 15th @ Shoreline] to name just a few.
Amoeblog: I am not going to ask you why you got laid off by KMEL but rather how the hell did you beat the odds by staying in such a high profile radio gig for so long - two decades and in morning drive! - an amazing feat. So what's your secret?
Chuy Gomez: No real secret just be about the people and give a quality show for everyone. I really enjoy what I do!!
Amoeblog: What do you not miss about getting up so early?
Chuy Gomez: Just that: getting early is for the birds! But it did help a lot of others by me being there in the a.m.
Amoeblog: What is the biggest misconception that people/listeners have about radio stations like KMEL?
Chuy Gomez: That the DJ really plays what he wants; not true!
Amoeblog: What is the most notable way that radio, as an industry in general, has changed over the past 20 years?
Chuy Gomez: The connection from station to people has been lost!
Amoeblog: What do you see as the future of FM radio?
Chuy Gomez: Needs to connect with folks but only if you actually have real DJ's and not tracked
voices on your station..
Amoeblog: What's in your future and how do people keep up with you?
Chuy Gomez: I will return to the airwaves soon and to stay connected @ChuyGomez on all social
networks and at www.ChuyGomez.com